I want to let you in on a little secret I discovered over the last month that has changed my approach to pain management and skin care… collagen!
Seriously. Collagen is the secret- weapon to healthy joints and skin elasticity.
What exactly is Collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and is a major component of our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is very important.
As we age (starting in our mid-late 20’s), the existing collagen in our bodies begins to break down and it gets harder for our bodies to produce more. This is what ultimately leads to those noticeable signs of aging we experience, like noticing fine lines and wrinkles as well as increased joint and muscle pain in our bodies.
After turning 30 last summer and carrying and delivering twins last fall, I began to notice some of the impacts of my body’s reduction in collagen from the appearance of new fine lines on my face, extreme postpartum hair loss, and chronic aches and pains in my lower back, knees, and hips.
Thankfully, I’ve found a couple of ways to combat these negative effects and even reverse them through: 1) helping my body naturally produce more collagen on its own through cryotherapy and 2) taking a liquid collagen supplement every single day. These two things have made a huge difference, and I am excited to share my personal experience and results with you.
Liquid GOLD- Why Collagen Supplements are NOT Created Equally:
Why take a liquid collagen? First and foremost, liquid collagen is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly and efficiently than solid supplements (including collagen in powder and tablet form). Our bodies have to work harder to break down the powder and extract the nutrients and can usually only absorb around 30% of powder collagen as opposed to a 90% absorption rate of the liquid collagen.
In addition, several studies back up the effectiveness of drinking liquid collagen to stimulate collagen production in the body and encourage skin and tissue regeneration.
I have personally noticed a HUGE difference in my joint pain, my skin, and my post partum hair loss. Check out just a few of my progress pictures!
I desperately wish I had known about the liquid collagen when I was pregnant! With the differences I’ve noticed in my joint pain since adding liquid collagen to my daily routine, I know it would have been a serious game changer.
What is Cryotherapy?
If you have never heard of cryotherapy, you’re not alone! Cryotherapy, aka “cold therapy” is basically the use of extremely low temperatures to treat a variety of issues, including chronic join pain and inflammation, skin issues (like acne, eczema, and fine wrinkles), and post-workout pain and inflammation. This could be anything from using an ice pack to taking an ice bath to even spending several minutes in a -250°F chamber. I won’t lie, the thought of spending several minutes in a chamber that cold sounded terrifying, and I was pretty reluctant at first to try it. But now that I have, I am hooked! But I’ll get to more about that later.
I actually learned about cryotherapy when I was googling “safe alternatives to Botox”. As I mentioned earlier, since turning 30 last year I’ve become VERY aware of the fine lines beginning to appear on my forehead and around my eyes (not to mention the permanent bags and dark circles from being chronically sleep deprived now for the last six months since we brought the twins home!). I am exclusively breastfeeding the babies, and personally just wasn’t comfortable injecting some of the ingredients Botox contains into my body (absolutely no judgement to anyone who has chosen to do Botox!) and was hoping to find a less invasive and less toxic alternative. When I was perusing the interwebs, an article talking about “frotox”, or CryoFacials, came up and I was intrigued.
Last month, my local cryospa Frigid Cryotherapy in Greenville, SC offered a buy-one, get-one cryofacial deal and I decided to try it! The cost for one cryofacial was no more than getting your nails done. I was AMAZED at my results after just two facials!
I was super nervous at first because I really don’t like to feel cold (like I really HATE to feel cold!) but it was actually quite soothing and refreshing! You basically just lie on a spa lounge chair and a technician uses a wand to direct liquid nitrogen vapors toward your face and neck. As your skin is exposed to such extreme cold temperatures (-260°F), your blood vessels go through a process of vasoconstriction/vasodilation which actually stimulates collagen production! Immediately after my first cryofacial, I noticed a tightening in my face and a brilliant glow.
I couldn’t believe the difference in my skin after just one week and two treatments! Seriously, these before and after photos were taken just one week apart- no filter or photo edits.
The cryofacials paired with my tried and true liquid collagen that I take every day (seriously.. if you haven’t tried this stuff- you are missing out! It is seriously liquid GOLD!) have worked together in a powerful combination to give me the best skin I’ve had in my entire life. No chemicals, non-invasive, no fancy skincare regiments (let’s be honest… twin mamas don’t have time for that!)- just increasing my own body’s production of collagen!
Even after loving the results from the cryofacials, I was still so nervous to try the whole body chill! When I say I hate to be cold, I really mean it!
First of all, why in the world would anyone want to put their whole body into a cryochamber chilled to -250°F?! That was my thought, too. I learned after starting with the cryofacials that the benefits I was experiencing in my skin could be maximized exponentially through just a 2-3 minute whole body chill. Whole Body Cryotherapy is used to decrease muscle soreness and inflammation, manage diseases of the joints and spine, and decreases injury and surgery recovery time. There are also beauty and wellness benefits to cryotherapy, including boosting the immune system, increasing metabolism, increasing collagen production, promoting tighter and healthier skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite, aiding in depression and mood disorders, increasing energy and athletic performance, and is said to burn between 500-800 calories per chill!
After my twin pregnancy, my lower back, hips, and knees were feeling chronically inflamed. In addition, I spend at least 10-12 hours a day carrying around two 17-pound-babies. No joke, on average I climb 14 flights of stairs a day. The thought of finding some relief for my back and hips as well as maximizing the benefits to my skin (who wouldn’t want tighter skin after delivering twins?) had me convinced to give it a try at least once. Once I finally mustered up the courage to try it, I was hooked and honestly wish I had tried it sooner!
Here’s What It’s Like:
The attendant, Lauren, explained to me that the first session lasts for three minutes. She could tell I was nervous, so for my first chill I started out at -160°F instead of -260°F. She played some upbeat, music and showed me to a bathroom where I could strip down and put on a pair of socks and slippers. You want to wear as little clothing as possible so your skin has as much contact with the cold as possible. I wore socks, mittens, and held a rag over my chest because I am currently breastfeeding. When I was changed into my robe, I stepped into the cryosauna- a capsule where my head and neck were left exposed, so I could see what is happening around me. Before I stepped in, I could sense the liquid nitrogen vapor spilling out over the top indicating the chamber was being chilled!
I finally got up my nerve and stepped into the chamber. I took off my robe and handed it to Lauren and was grateful to know the little door she closed behind me wasn’t locked and I could get out any time. My first thought was, This really isn’t so bad! As I was in, it did begin to get colder and I definitely started shivering! But mainly it was my legs that felt the coldest- mostly because when you’re cold your blood leaves your extremities first and rushes to keep your core warm and also because the liquid nitrogen is partially pulled down due to gravity and there is more of it at your legs than at your chest/arms. My core felt pretty warm and my arms didn’t feel nearly as cold as my legs (they were close to my core holding the towel to my chest to keep my breasts covered). The music helped and Lauren was there the whole time distracting me and asking me questions. Before I knew it, three minutes had passed and I was done! I put on my robe and stepped out and felt immediately warmer. The cryochamber is a “dry cold”, and feels completely different than stepping out of a “wet cold” like a cold ocean or an ice bath. My legs didn’t feel weak or numb and I had full control over my movement. My skin felt cold to the touch, but quickly began to warm up as I could feel my blood circulation increasing.
Immediately after, I felt like I had more energy. I’m not sure if it was the adrenaline from being nervous or the rush of blood returning all the oxygen-rich blood back into my body, but I felt refreshed and energized (which is saying something when you have six-month old twins!). After a day or so had passed, I felt less inflamed and noticed my back and my joints felt better. It took a few more visits for me to notice a significant improvement. When I asked Lauren about how many treatments you need for maximum benefits, she said it can vary greatly between people. Some may use the chamber two to three times a week, but others may only seek treatment once a month or even less frequently, like after a big race.
Overall, it seems like most people can get pretty amazing results after even just a couple of sessions.
Overall, I have seen dramatic changes through adding liquid collagen and cryotherapy to my self-care routine. If you are local to the Upstate, SC and are interested in cryotherapy, check out the amazing services Frigid has to offer. When I told them I wanted to feature them on my blog, they were so sweet to offer me a discount for $20 off a whole body chill for anyone who wants to try it! Just tell them I sent you when you book your appointment.
I also have a $10 off link for you if you want to try the liquid collagen I’ve been taking.
Increasing the collagen in my body has definitely made the biggest difference in my life! Carrying these two babies around has never been easier and I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable in my skin!